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Admissions to private hospitals rising faster than public hospitals

22 March, 2016

The number of admissions increased by 3.2% on average each year for public hospitals and 4.0% for private hospitals between 2010-11 and 2014-15, a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found.

The report, Admitted patient care 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics, shows that of the 10.2 million admissions to hospitals in 2014-15, 6 million were in public hospitals and 4.2 million were in private hospitals.

'While the majority of hospital admissions in Australia in 2014-15 were to public hospitals, the number of admissions to private hospitals is increasing at a faster rate,' said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

The number of admissions for public patients increased by an average of 2.7% each year, compared with 5.9% for admissions funded by private health insurance.

In total, the 10.2 million hospital admissions in 2014-15 were associated with almost 29 million days of patient care - 19.4 million and 9.4 million in public and private hospitals, respectively.

'Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the number of days of patient care increased at 1.7% each year' Jenny Hargreaves said.

The report shows that about 57% of admissions were for care that did not involve surgery or other procedures, and 24% involved surgery. The majority of surgical admissions (60%) occurred in private hospitals.

The most common single reason for care was kidney dialysis (over 1.3 million admissions). Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, admissions for dialysis increased by 3.6% on average each year.

The report shows that overall, Indigenous Australians were hospitalised at more than twice the rate of other Australians (950 and 393 per 1,000 respectively).

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

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